Overview

Low-Residency MFA in Screenwriting

In just two years, write a marketable screenplay and earn your MFA in Narrative Media Writing with a concentration in Screenwriting from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, home of the Peabody Awards and one of the top journalism schools in the country. This two-year low-residency program is designed to train writers who will be produced. The program offers students an unparalleled opportunity to develop screenwriting skills that will equip them for long and varied careers. The program features a committed and diverse roster of accomplished screenwriters and other industry professionals who work closely with students to inspire and support each writer's emerging craft and voice. 

MFA graduates concentrating in screenwriting are prepared to write screenplays for major motion picture and television companies or teach writing at the university level. A concentration in narrative nonfiction is also available.

Program Details

UGA's unique low-residency MFA program offers concentrations in screenwriting or narrative nonfiction and allows students to complete most of the degree requirements off campus while developing their skills and talents under the guidance of experienced faculty writing mentors. Students begin each semester by visiting campus for an intensive 8-day residency, followed by a four-month online writing period, during which each student works closely with a professional faculty mentor. Over the course of the program, students build a substantive portfolio of screenwriting or narrative nonfiction, reflecting their individual styles and interests. Students receive individualized instruction from assigned mentors who help them to develop and hone crucial career skills, ultimately completing a marketable screenplay or full-length manuscript of publishable quality.

The programs' co-directors — award-winning producer Nate Kohn and award-winning author and journalist Valerie Boyd — have assembled a diverse group of writing mentors who will challenge students to do their best work, to explore the role of the writer in society, and to use their writing to make a difference in the diverse communities in which they live.

The Screenwriting concentration is designed for feature film and television writers who want to take their writing skills to the next level and who understand the advantages that the MFA degree affords. The program is aimed at experienced writers who want to explore new creative opportunities in telling stories that matter for large and small screens. The program allows students to work one-on-one with experienced mentors who are currently vital members of the entertainment community and who understand the challenges and opportunities found in new technologies. Most of all, the program is for writers who value the power, purpose, and meaning of stories well told. 

Accreditations

The University of Georgia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award baccalaureate, master’s, specialist, and doctoral degrees. Questions about the accreditation of the University of Georgia may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (www.sacscoc.org).

Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC).

Technology Requirements

  • Computer with current operating system (Windows, Mac, or Linux). Additional peripherals such as webcam, headphones, and printer may be required.
  • High-speed internet access.

Faculty

This program is taught by a diverse group of full-time faculty, visiting writing mentors and industry experts. In addition to our core faculty mentors, a variety of accomplished writers and recognized industry leaders are brought in to share their knowledge with our students at each residency.

Cost

Tuition & Fees

Online Tuition $984 per credit hour 36 credit hours $35,424 USD
Student Fees $597 per semester 5 semesters $2,985 USD
Total Program Cost     $38,409 USD
 

Tuition and fees are subject to change. Current tuition and fees are available on the Bursar's Office website. If you register for less than 5 credit hours, student fees are reduced to $372 in that semester. 

Online students pay the following fees: Connect UGA, Green, Special Institutional, and Technology. See UGA Tuition and Fees for the complete schedule of fees.

Financial Aid

Visit the Office of Student Financial Aid for information about financial assistance.

Corporate Assistance

Consult your employer about the availability of tuition reimbursement or tuition assistance programs.

Military Assistance

Active duty military, veterans, and military families should visit Veterans Educational Benefits to take full advantage of available financial assistance and educational benefits.

Admissions

Total Hours Required to Earn Degree: 36 (credit hours)

Admission Requirements:

Students applying to The University of Georgia must be accepted by the Graduate School. Persons holding a bachelor's degree from any institution accredited by the proper regional accrediting association are eligible to apply for admission to the Graduate School.

Applications are accepted starting in Fall semester prior to anticipated Fall semester matriculation. Although the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required for admission to this program, requirements include:

  • Personal Statement
  • A 20-page Writing Sample
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae

Application Checklist:

  1. Application - Submit online to the Graduate School Admissions. Application fee: $75 Domestic/$100 International. (waived for US veterans).
  2. Select Campus - Online
  3. Select Intended Program - MFA, Narrative Media Writing (College of Journ-Mass Comm) [MFA_NMWR_ONL] 
  4. Select Area of Emphasis – Screen Writing
  5. Statement of Purpose - Submit a one-page statement of purpose online to the Graduate School. The statement of intent should clarify the candidate's relevant background, interests, and goals in relation to the program.
  6. Writing Sample - Submit a 20-page sample of your best writing (nonfiction, fiction or screenplay) in a PDF document to the Grady Graduate Administrative Assistant, anne.hurne@uga.edu. The writing sample may be a single work or a portfolio of various articles, essays, short screenplays, etc. Program faculty will assess the quality of each applicant's work — a major criterion for admission.
  7. Resume or curriculum vita - Submit online to the Graduate School.
  8. Transcripts – Submit unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended as part of the online application. Send official transcripts after you are offered admission
  9. Letters of Recommendation - Submit three letters of recommendation online to graduate school. Letters should be from individuals who can evaluate the applicant’s scholarly ability and potential for success in a graduate program. Preferably at least two of them are from faculty who have instructed the applicant in a previous program of study. The application will prompt your recommenders to submit their letters electronically.

Application Deadlines:

Fall:  May 1

Curriculum

Low-Residency Format

UGA's two-year, low-residency MFA program embraces the changing needs of students — particularly working professionals — by allowing them to complete their degree without having to relocate. Our program offers students the chance to continue their lives while learning the skills crucial to advancing their careers. The low-residency format also perfectly simulates the life of the writer — offering two things that every successful writer needs: a strong, supportive community as well as the freedom and solitude to write.

Each 15-week semester begins with a campus residency that features a demanding program of writing workshops in which student work is discussed and evaluated. The residencies run for eight days, with students immersing themselves in an intensive writing environment for a full, enriching week. The flexible schedule accommodates professionals who have two weeks of paid leave — while providing students with the opportunity to build a sense of community with their peers and to engage in serious, focused study with their faculty mentors. Each residency includes daily seminars and craft lectures, as well as panel discussions and readings by faculty members, visiting writers, editors, agents and other publishing and entertainment-industry professionals.

Program Structure

All courses in the student's screenwriting concentration area are required. There are no prerequisites. The program offers students opportunities to attend craft lectures, seminars and panel discussions across screenwriting and narrative nonfiction concentrations during the residencies.

Screenwriting Concentration

  Fall Term Spring Term
Year 1
  • Writing for the Screen I:  Explorations & Beginnings
  • Screenplay Craft, Criticism & Reflection I:  Directed Readings
  • Writing for the Screen II:  Developing the Screenplay
  • Screenplay Craft, Criticism & Reflection II:  Directed Readings
Year 2
  • Writing for the Screen III:  Work-in-Progress Screenplay
  • Screenplay Craft, Criticism & Reflection III:  Critical Essay
  • Writing for the Screen IV:  Final Thesis Screenplay
  • Screenplay Craft, Criticism & Reflection IV:  Seminar Preparation
Final Residency
  • Writing for the Screen V:  Public Reading
 

Contact Information

Contact the low-residency MFA Coordinator for answers to any additional questions you may have.

Email us using the request for information form or call 706-452-7947

The Residency

The Residency

The next MFA residency will be held in Athens, Georgia, from January 9-15, 2022.

The residency portions of the MFA program run for eight days, with students immersing themselves in an intensive writing environment for a full, enriching week. The residency provides students with the opportunity to build a sense of community with their peers and to engage in a serious, focused study with their faculty mentors. Each residency includes daily seminars and craft lectures, as well as panel discussions and readings by faculty members, visiting writers, editors, agents, and other publishing and entertainment-industry professionals.

Browse our residency photo album on Flickr!

Sample Residency Guide

Screenwriting Residency Guide (.pdf)